Did Victor Ortiz have a chance last night if he hadn't been knocked out so suddenly and so strangely? (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
One of the questions going around late tonight/early this morning is how much Victor Ortiz was in the fight last night against Floyd Mayweather Jr before the stunning fourth round knockout. Ignore the knockout for right now.
Let's say that hadn't happened. What would have played out in this fight?
Mayweather was, in most ways, his usual ring genius self. Ortiz did not look greatly out of his league in the first round, but that was a Mayweather round for sure. Ortiz had a little more success in the second round, and I tipped that one slightly to Victor. Scoring it for Mayweather is perfectly understandable.
The third round was all Mayweather. Vintage Floyd, as he picked Ortiz apart and popped him repeatedly with clean right hands and left hooks. He was just totally dominant in this round, about as dominant as I've seen him in any round throughout his career. Ortiz barely landed anything, and what he did land was mostly insignificant. Floyd was dialed in and tearing Ortiz apart in the third frame.
The fourth round. Ortiz was getting some crowd response for his pressure. He was able to press Mayweather to the ropes. He used his 14-pound size advantage to muscle Mayweather a bit. He cut off the ring nicely. But I still would have scored the round for Mayweather had it ended. Victor's charges seemed to be giving him some legit confidence, and I thought he showed some grit and some smarts in adapting. Honestly, after the third, I was resigned to another Mayweather masterpiece. It just seemed like it would happen.
And then, you know, the headbutt. The bro hug. The knockout.
But again, ignore that. Say that the headbutt happens, and the bro hug even happens a little, but Floyd doesn't blast Victor with two shots that end the fight. The fight just goes on.
What would have happened?
I think there are three possibilities, one far more likely than the other two.
The First Scenario (89% Likely)
Mayweather, fuming, decides that if Ortiz wants a fight, he'll give him a fight. Quickly, Floyd becomes a man possessed, countering Ortiz constantly, slipping his charges with relative ease, tying him up whenever the young man does get close to him, and roughing him up with elbows and maybe a mean-spirited shove along the way when they're tied up. Maybe he even throws his own headbutt, though likely he does it craftier than the preposterous leaping form of Ortiz. With this, he either dominates through 12, or gets Ortiz out by the 10th.
The Second Scenario (3% Likely)
Mayweather, fuming, decides yada yada, what I said, but in the process foolishly and recklessly leaves himself open to a massive shot at some point from Ortiz. A riled-up Mayweather may have made mistakes that the usually cool-headed (in the ring) Floyd does not. He might have been caught.
The Third Scenario (8% Likely)
Eventually, Ortiz again becomes frustrated, again lets his lesser instincts take over, and again fouls Mayweather with a headbutt, a blatant low blow, or whatever. He gets himself disqualified.
Ortiz wasn't doing badly, but Floyd is a guy who tends to build steam in the middle rounds. I think chances are that round would have ended, a calm Roger Mayweather would stabilized but encouraged his nephew in the corner, and Floyd would have gone out and done his business with unusual vigor.
Mayweather would have won the fight, I believe. I believed before he would have won the fight, but that Ortiz was a good physical matchup with a puncher's chance. Nothing I saw told me he was becoming more than that, just that that's what he was living up to, really.
We may find all of this out and more (or less) next year if the two rematch.